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Ketogenic diet: History, benefits and side effects of this diet

Ketogenic diet: History, benefits and side effects of this diet

Suraj Iyer

Published: 14 Dec 2020 11:22 AM GMT

Diet trends circulate the internet as many look for quick fixes to lose weight or look and feel better. One such diet is ketogenic diet, which has been popular for quite a while. However, the original purpose of this diet was the solution to a medical issue.


More than a diet, keto is a dietary therapy that focuses on eating lesser carbohydrates and more fats. Anticonvulsant drugs in the 1920s and 1930s were used to treat people with epilepsy, however, not many responded well to the drugs. To this group, ketogenic diet was prescribed which helped them manage the condition better.

The way keto works is by replacing the traditional amount of carbohydrate intake with fat. This puts the body into a state known as ketosis which makes the body more efficient at burning fat and producing energy. As glucose is primarily used by the body as a source of energy, keto diet induces ketosis to make the body switch to burning fat as fuel. Protein intake should also be monitored, as a source found that consuming too much protein would lead to glucose conversion, thus slowing down one’s progress towards reaching ketosis.


Today, keto diet is a popular route that many are opting for, to reach their weights loss goals. Being a diet that is low fat in nature, the body becomes much more efficient at burning calories using fat as fuel. The emphasis on eating healthy fats also leads to quality nutrition as compared to processed foods. Keto diet has also shown to lower the risk factors for diabetes, heart disease and reduce insulin levels which play a role in managing polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Side Effects

Like many other diets, keto diet has its fair share of pros and cons. When adapting to any new diet, the body goes through adaptation which may take a few days or weeks. People switching to the keto diet may see these changes before the body completely syncs with the diet.

  • Unable to push hard during workouts
  • Hunger pangs
  • Sleep issues

However, a few side effects of the diet itself are as follows:

  • Micronutrient deficiency
  • Excess calcium in urine (Hypercalciuria)
  • Kidney stones

Keto diet has proven effective for weight loss, diabetics and other diseases. However, like all other diets, consulting a nutritionist is the key as self prescription may do more harm than good. A nutritionist can also guide one to the right way to do the keto diet without compromising on taste or health.

Also read: Intermittent Fasting: Everything you need to know about this diet

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